Ken Adam: Rolls Royce

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Courtesy: Andreas Felten

Courtesy: Andreas Felten

My ‘Das Ding’ is a white Rolls Royce Silver Cloud I convertible. One night, many years ago, I saw it in the window of a used car dealership near my house. The next day I went in to buy it but they told me: ‘you’re not the right person for this Rolls.’ And I said: ‘well, how do you know?’ Actually, the man who ran the business was very nice. He was an old ex-naval commander, and I was pretty young. He just thought it was not the right type of car for me – that I was more of ‘a sports car person’. Still I thought the Rolls was very pretty and so I bought it anyway. It cost something like £20,000, which I could afford – I can’t remember exactly how much.

I’ve always loved cars. I’ve had E type Jaguars and a Mercedes 540K. The Mercedes was super-charged which was fantastic even though it guzzled so much petrol, which was a problem after WWII because of the fuel rationing. I guess a two-door Rolls Royce convertible is something like their sports car version; or as close to a sports car a Rolls can get.

Until recently I used the Rolls more or less every day; for example to go to the swimming pool, a 15-minute drive from my house. Now I don’t really need it anymore so I keep it in the garage. I have only pleasant memories of my Rolls. I can’t remember that it ever let me down. I’ve used it all over Europe: I drove with it to Italy and Spain, to France, everywhere. It has travelled over 250,000 miles. But it never got me to Germany.

Production designer Sir Ken Adam is renowned for his set designs for the James Bond films of the 1960s and 1970s. He was born to a Jewish family in Berlin in 1921 as Klaus Hugo Adam. In 1934 his family emigrated to London where Adam has lived ever since. The exhibition Bigger Than Life. Ken Adam’s Film Design at Deutsche Kinemathek in Berlin is on view until 17 May 2015.

Issue 18

First published in Issue 18

Mar - Apr 2015

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